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Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Isn't This Mandated??

I was just idly reading my RedEye this morning (okay, not "idly" as much as "looking for something to rant about") and a tiny blurb caught my eye. Buried deep in the Chicago news section was one paragraph that reads the following:

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday signed a new Illinois law requiring first-time drunk driving offenders to install breath test devices in their vehicles and pass the test every time they try to start their engines. If the driver's breath exceeds the alcohol limit, the alcohol ignition interlock device - which costs about $150 to install, plus monthly fees - ensures the car won't start."

Why isn't this mandated already? Why isn't this a standard??

Forgive me from taking a turn away from my usual "keep the guv'ment out of mah business" type of rants, but this is about safety and about being realistic. We're already stuck in a crappy society with a government that actually tickets people for not wearing a seatbelt and can arrest you for driving without insurance.

Got that? Make you pay money for not protecting YOURSELF and arrest you for not being FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE and CAUTIOUS.

So why are they letting people drive around without protecting OTHER PEOPLE and stopping drunk drivers before they even begin the driving part of the equation?? Now I don't own a car, and I've never bought a car, but if they threw in a mandatory $150 extra when you bought your car, new or used (if the used car didn't have it already) to install this breathalyzer device - would it really be that noticable? I mean you're already paying thousands of dollars, and likely the car dealer's going to be screwing you out of a lot more with "add-ons" anyway, right? Call it a "car tax" if you will, since the government should be making it mandatory for cars to have it and undoubtedly it's the buyer who foots the bill.

And as for the "plus monthly fees"? Again, not a car owner, but I reckon most car owners wind up paying a pretty penny on upkeep for their vehicle every month anyway, if not every other month or so. Between the already-stupid mandatory insurance, vehicle repairs, and that ever-rising price of gasoline - is an extra monthly fee really that noticable? Besides, if you tacked it onto your insurance plan, it'd benefit in the long run. Fees could go down for good drivers, get raised for those who still manage to mess things up. Just like your normal insurance plan screws you over, you know?

Think about the end results, though! No more drunk drivers! (Okay, well, a severe decrease in drunk drivers!!)

It's true - you'll never get rid of drunk drivers. After all, who's to say what goes down after the car's been started? Wouldn't be the first time someone was drinking while AT the wheel - won't be the last. I'm sure plenty of sober idiots would be blowing into their friends' breathalyzers as payment for a ride home or something. And luckily, DNA evidence would prove who was driving wasn't the person who blew into the device last, and more people could be arrested for "enabling" the drunken driving dilemma.

I won't say it's the best idea I've had - or the most practical to put into effect - but at least it's an idea. It's an idea that has some potential. Maybe in the hands of some other sane and rational people (not government officials, I need some RATIONAL thinkers here) it could become a feasible idea, and a practical one. Maybe then it could be passed to the legislators to hem and haw over until someone shows them Red Asphalt and they all cry, "Yes! Make this a law so there's no more Red Asphalt!!"

After all, that's how it worked with the whole "foie gras debacle". Let's get to brainstorming and make this happen. Then maybe we can get to work on abolishing the pointless seatbelt laws...

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